Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Cory Zurowski of City Pages,
Where the Gophers used to have permanent residence among the nation's top 20, they're no longer even the best in Minnesota, losing 10 of their last 11 games against in-state opponents. And what was once a prideful alumni network has morphed into a full-scale revolt.
On a Saturday night in December, the Mariucci scoreboard spurs the faithful: "Let's Get Weird!"
The Gophers have already taken care of that.
Stacked with 12 NHL draft picks, they're struggling to stay with Big Ten bottom-feeder Ohio State.
When the New York Rangers selected defenseman Brady Skjei three years ago, he became the 18th Gopher picked in the first round of the NHL draft. Almost 200 more have gone in later rounds.
Yet it's this very lodestone of talent that's come to haunt the team.
"At a program like Minnesota, you're going to have high-end players," says former Ohio State Coach Mark Osiecki. "But you can't have your whole roster of that."
The Gophers do.
Watch these days, and you'll witness less a team than a constellation of child stars. Some were signed to scholarships as young as age 15, coated with praise since their grade school days. It's akin to building a football team where everyone fancies himself a star quarterback. That's left no one to do the yeoman's work of winning hockey.
thanks to a KK reader for the pointer
from David Goricki of the Detroit News,
Michigan sophomore defenseman Zach Werenski made his presence felt this past weekend in helping the Wolverines to an impressive weekend sweep of rival Michigan State by a combined score of 15-5.
And, Werenski was fresh off playing in the World Junior Championships in Finland where he was team captain and voted as the top defenseman.
Werenski says he is happy at Michigan, talking after Friday’s rout of the Spartans, despite a Columbus Dispatch report speculating Werenski was unhappy in Ann Arbor and thinking of turning pro.
“I’m happy,” said Werenski, the No. 8 overall pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets in last June’s NHL draft. “That was a terrible rumor, bad timing too, especially going on with the tournament. It’s not something you want to see. That’s why it’s a rumor and you have to push it off.
“I was kind of like, ‘What is this?’ when I read it. I just put it behind me. You see all that stuff. It pops up on your timeline. At that point, I just stopped looking at Twitter. I have bigger things to worry about than that.”
tee rap of Rink RAP with some great stories from Michigan head hockey coach Red Berenson, like this on Bobby Orr...
“I was playing for the Rangers in his rookie year. We’d heard all this hype about this one player who was supposed to be so good at age 18. And Harry Howell was our veteran defenseman, I think he had won the Norris trophy the previous year.
So there was some talk about, there was no way this kid could be that good. I mean Harry Howell won the Norris Trophy. And after the first period we were looking around at each other and somebody said to Harry, ‘Harry, forget about the Norris Trophy. You’re never going to win that again.’ This is after one period in Boston against Orr his rookie year.”
thanks to an RT from Billy Jaffe for the pointer
from George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press,
Michigan State has eliminated the blue lines at Munn Ice Arena.
At the request of athletic director Mark Hollis, the blue lines were painted green when the ice recently was redone at the hockey rink.
Hollis did not respond to repeated requests from the Free Press for comment.
Section 5 a. of the NCAA Ice Hockey Rules and Interpretations states that “the ice area between the two goals shall be divided into three parts by lines 12 inches in width and blue in color, drawn at least 60 feet out from the goal lines, extending completely across the rink parallel with the goal lines, and continuing vertically up the side of the boards. It is preferred that the offensive zone be 64 feet when possible.”
A message left for the NCAA seeking comment was not returned, although the color change was not expected to be an issue.
Michigan hockey coach Red Berenson — whose school colors, of course, are maize and blue — isn’t too keen on the idea of having a color other than blue for the lines.
from Robby Stanley at NHL.com,
Forward Jimmy Vesey feels that earning a degree from Harvard University will provide him with plenty of future opportunities outside of hockey, even though it pushed back his chance to make the Nashville Predators.
When the Predators selected Vesey in the third round (No. 66) in the 2012 NHL Draft, they knew he had the potential to be a dynamic offensive player. Vesey showed off that potential at Harvard during the 2014-15 season, leading the nation with 32 goals. He was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given to the top college player in the country.
Vesey, a junior, could have turned pro and signed with the Predators in March, after the Crimson's season ended. Instead, he chose to return for his senior season.
Earning his degree from Harvard is important to Vesey.
"It was a really tough decision for me," Vesey said this week at Nashville's development camp. "I sat down with my family and we kind of weighed our options. At the end of the day, I just wanted to make sure I got that degree from Harvard because hockey is not going to last forever and that's something good to fall back on. I'm going to wait one more year and finish my college season and hopefully sign after the year."
Although the Predators felt Vesey, a government major at Harvard, was good enough to turn pro, he said they were supportive of his decision to return to school.
Frozen Four Final- Boston Univ. Goaltender Matt O’Connor Faces The Music After BU Loss To Providence
from Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald,
First, he had to sit in that tiny dressing room inside TD Garden last night and talk about giving up one of the most gruesome goals in the history of college hockey. He was manning the net in the third period of the Frozen Four championship game, his BU Terriers holding a one-goal lead over Providence College with less than nine minutes remaining. The Friars’ Tom Parisi, meandering around center ice, lifted a pop fly of a shot toward O’Connor. It should have been easy: Catch the puck and deposit it behind the net, where it would be collected by teammate Jack Eichel. It turned out to be anything but easy.
When O’Connor extended his glove, the puck went in, went out. It fell to the ice. O’Connor couldn’t find it. It trickled between his legs and into the net. Tie game, 8:36 remaining.
It wasn’t the goal that lost the game for BU, but it was the goal that broke BU. A little more than two minutes later, Brandon Tanev scored to put the Friars ahead to stay.
Final score: Providence 4, Boston University 3.
“Everybody in this locker room deserved a lot better,” O’Connor told the first wave of reporters. “They deserve to be hoisting a national championship right now. Sports are tough . . . but everyone in this locker room . . . sometimes you lose the puck in the lights in the Garden . . . you get a weird bounce and things happen . . .”
He wasn’t speaking sentences. He was speaking words, one after the other, piles of words, not all of them jiving with each other.
He was asked what his coaches and teammates said to him after the game.
“A lot of people tried to remind me that the reason we were here was partly because of my performance,” he said, “but a lot of it was just a way to make me feel better.”
Watch the game tying goal by Providence below...
Eichel (pronounced IKE-ul), becomes only the second freshman in the award’s 35-year history to win the Hobey. The 18-year old rookie sensation has had a fantastic season and leads the nation in points (70), assists (44), power play points (23) and plus-minus (+51). Saving his best for last, Eichel has scored 8 goals and 7 assists in 7 playoff games, while registering a +15.
As the first freshman Hobey top ten candidate in 12 years, Eichel has already claimed multiple awards having been named the Hockey East Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, conference scoring champion, First Team Hockey East and a member of the All-Rookie Team and, was named Most Valuable Player at the Hockey East playoff tournament. Earlier today, Eichel was named the National Rookie of the Year by the Hockey Commissioners Association and a First Team All American by the Hockey Coaches Association.
Eichel is projected by many hockey experts to be a top two NHL draft selection this June. Additionally, he captained the U.S. team in the most recent World Junior tournament held in Canada.
A native of North Chelmsford, Massachusetts, Jack is enrolled in the College of General Studies. He spends off-ice time mentoring an 11-year old brain cancer patient and helps out with the Terriers team partnership with Autism Speaks.
from David Albright of ESPN,
Maybe it was a case of anything you can do, we can do better. Or maybe on this one night, it was simply that two hosts weren't going to be denied a couple of servings of home cooking.
Either way, college hockey's ultimate hardware will be staying in the east for another year.
Thursday's Frozen Four national semifinals at the TD Garden were a pair of east-vs.-west matchups between event-host Hockey East and the NCHC. In the matinee, Providence College matter-of-factly skated to a 4-1 victory over Nebraska-Omaha. Then, in the prime-time match, Boston University added drama to the script, as the 5-3 final over North Dakota wasn't decided until the closing seconds.
In the end, it sets up the first all-Hockey East final since 1999, when Maine beat New Hampshire 3-2 in overtime.
And the semifinal wins ensure Hockey East of its fifth national title in the past eight years.
from Dan Rubin of USCHO.com,
This weekend, two of the nation’s best leagues collide when the NCHC meets Hockey East in the national semifinals.
It’s a microcosm of college hockey — two of the more powerful leagues producing the four teams who will play each other in a type of crossover, with Omaha playing Providence and North Dakota playing Boston University.
It should create a vibe inside the arena where East meets West in a battle of dueling hockey cultures.
“There is definitely an East-West feel to this year,” said Providence coach Nate Leaman. “I love how it is because it lets you play teams you might not ordinarily see, and it really helps you learn and respect other coaches and the job that they’ve done at their schools.”
Frozen Four semifinals
Four teams, two games at TD Garden (Boston)
Thursday, April 9
5:00 on ESPN2: Providence vs. Nebraska-Omaha
8:30 on ESPN2: Boston University vs. North Dakota
Saturday, April 11 (7:30 p.m. on ESPN)
from Todd D Milewski of USCHO.com,
One side of the Frozen Four bracket features teams that have combined for 12 national championships and 43 Frozen Four appearances.
On the other side, the national championships column is empty and Frozen Four experience is slight.
Boston University will play North Dakota in a semifinal matchup of two of the most accomplished programs in college hockey history. Providence and Omaha are matched in the other semi, with the Friars making their first Frozen Four appearance in 30 years and the Mavericks their first ever.
The Terriers and UND are both No. 1 seeds; Providence emerged from the East Regional as a No. 4 seed, while UNO was the No. 2 seed in the Midwest.
They’ll meet at TD Garden in Boston for the Frozen Four on April 9 and 11.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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